The decision triggered a lot of backlash from many Nigerians, who described it as an act of retrogression for the country.
However, Sylva, in a response to the backlash during an interview with Channels TV on Monday, said there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
“For me, this is not an embarrassment at all. As a country, we need products, even if all our refineries were functioning.
“Niger Republic produces oil and they are landlocked as a country. They have a refinery that produces in excess of what they require as a country, and they offered to sell to us in Nigeria.
“In the spirit of regional cooperation, regional trade development, we decided to buy from them. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
“Nigerians should be proud that we are encouraging sub-regional trade,” he said.